So there is no general premise for this post but the fact that it caused a small argument between a very good male friend of mine, whose opinion I greatly respect and myself. It was on the topic of equality, unsurprising right? After the argument we were still unable to come to a conclusion and just agreed to disagree, but my curiosity gets the better of me and I really want an answer backed with solid examples and so I’ve come to pose the question to you TNC readers… “Do men lose the respect of women they treat as equal partners?” That’s the simple question, no caveats no further explanation. Well, maybe some further explanation. It’s 2015, women have the right to vote, the inequality between the genders is closing painfully slowly but surely and both women and men believe that no human being is made lesser than the other. Everyone claims to be for equal opportunity but how many really are?
We have been socialized to the point that we THINK we want an equal partner, I wrote a post about the new trophy wife some time ago and I still stand by that opinion. Any man, who is not looking for a woman who will do more than be a pretty little thing on his arm, is losing. However, as I interact with more men and women of varying backgrounds, it’s becoming clear to me that mentally, we are not there yet. We want someone who will treat us as an equal, while at the very same time, wishing for a man that will make us feel “taken care of” or a woman that will make us feel “like a man”.
People are still very comfortable in the more “traditional” roles of men and women and it takes a long time to break this mold. The starting point is admitting that you are a walking contradiction. I am a hypocrite. There, I said it. Feels so much better once it’s out than in. If you know that like me, you want to be equal but still want your man or woman to play some traditional roles then say it with me. I am a hypocrite. Any man who wants to be taken seriously by me will never demand that I enter the kitchen, and I wouldn’t demand that he foots the bill every single time we were out. However, I feel like I would get irritated if her never ever just says “Babe, don’t worry, this one is on me.”
There are studies that show that even though both genders would like a more egalitarian relationship, most time, people fall back into traditional roles when reality sets. So the man is the primary breadwinner and the woman the primary caregiver. This is where that pesky word, respect, comes in… Some men I have spoken to have expressed, by example, ways in which the women that they have tried to treat as equal have lost respect for them. Most of the examples I’ve heard are null and void, in my opinion but I will share them here so as to try and get an answer to the question that is currently keeping me up at night, “Do women lose respect for men who treat them too equally?” to rephrase.
One example I heard was of a young lady who got married to a man who was still up and coming, she was quite well off and had her own apartment and car and so after they got married, her husband moved in to her place and they split the rent equally. After a few months, during a heated argument, the woman screamed at her husband that she should leave “her house”. This is a story we’ve heard so many times but the roles have been reversed. Whenever I narrate this story to people they blame the man for not taking over the rent when he moved in, for not buying a new place even though his fiancé turned wife had a piece of prime real estate and of course, they say the woman doesn’t respect him. I don’t disagree that the woman has shown herself to be lacking in the respect division but was it really because the man treated her too equally? If anything, she was in a position of superiority.
Another example I always hear in different forms is where the man and woman have an argument and the man does not do things to instill fear like threaten to leave the relationship or act aggressive in other ways, apparently this then causes women to not be afraid of them and thus act out. This acting out is seen as a loss of respect but I wonder. Is it really a loss of respect? Or is it simply that the woman is reacting in a way that she would react to an equal but the men want to have their egos stroked and so feel like if she isn’t doing so, then she must lack respect? It’s a vicious cycle, does the man feel like his woman lost respect because she actually did or because he’s been socialized to expect a certain level of fear and dominance when dealing with women?
I’m really struggling here guys, so can anyone point me in the direction of an example where a man and woman being in equal standing with each other has caused said woman to be disrespectful? All I need is one solid example; I’m not even being too picky. And also, does anyone really want true equality? Lay it on me guys, see you in the comments.
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